Dynamic tuning of hair bundle mechanoreceptors in a sea anemone during predation
The sea anemone Haliplanella luciae (Cnidaria, Anthozoa) detects chemical and mechanical stimuli from prey. Hair bundle mechanoreceptors on the tentacles participate in regulating discharge of microbasic p-mastigophore nematocysts. Properly stimulated hair bundles sensitize the anemone to discharge nematocysts into objects that contact the tentacles. The hair bundle mechanoreceptors are composed of stereocilia derived from a multicellular complex. This complex consists of a single sensory neuron surrounded by two to four supporting cells. The mechanoreceptor is similar in many ways to vertebrate hair cells of the acousticolateralis system. However, anemone hair bundles are adjustable in structure and responsiveness according to the activity of two different chemoreceptors. One chemoreceptor binds N-acetylated sugars and the other binds amino compounds including proline. N-acetylated sugars induce lengthening of the hair bundle and a downward shift in frequencies that elicit maximal discharge of microbasic p-mastigophore nematocysts. Furthermore, N-acetylated sugars shift maximal discharge to smaller amplitude vibrations. Thus, N-acetylated sugars likely tune hair bundles so that small, swimming zooplankton stimulate maximal discharge. Proline leaks into the seawater from the hemolymph of wounded prey. Proline induces shortening of the hair bundle and shifts maximal discharge of nematocysts to higher frequencies and to larger amplitude vibrations. Thus, proline likely tunes hair bundles so that small, wounded, prey stimulate maximal discharge of nematocysts as they struggle to escape. Thus, suitably sized prey stimulate maximal discharge of microbasic p-mastigophore nematocysts upon first contacting the anemone tentacle and again upon attempting to escape.
Key words: nematocyst discharge, mechanotransduction, hair cell, chemoreceptor
KeywordsHair Cell Sensory Neuron Supporting Cell Maximal Discharge Hair Bundle
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